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Encouraging Results from New Drug in Stalling Cancer Growth

Updated: Monday, April 7 2014, 07:24 PM EDT

Two drugs are showing progress in stalling the growth of cancer. One drug, offered by Pfizer, appears to be particularly beneficial, doubling the amount of time in between treatment and tumor growth.

A 165 patient study found that when used in combination with standard treatment, the drug stopped breast cancer cells from growing for nearly two years. That's twice as long as the standard treatment alone.

"It's pretty exciting that in these women who have advanced breast cancer which is either metastasized to other parts of the body or has recurred, that when you give them the standard first line treatment, which is an estrogen blocking pill, and then you add this other drug you can double the time until the cancer comes back," Mercy Oncologist Dr. David Riseberg said.

If approved by the FDA, the treatment would only be available for women with advanced breast cancer, who are estrogen sensitive.

"The question is when is this drug going be available for everybody and that's up to the FDA," Riseberg said. "They have a tough job because on the one hand, they don't want to delay the availability of a drug that could help lots of women on the other hand there are certainly many examples of drugs that look good in small studies but when the larger studies were done there was not an advantage."

Side effects include lower blood cell counts and fatigue.  Pfizer has been in talks with the FDA about fast tracking the approval of the drug---eliminating a larger scale study.

Lilly's drug was the other drug studied. It's in the early stages and showed antitumor activity in 33 of 47 patients.

Encouraging Results from New Drug in Stalling Cancer Growth

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